Financial penalties for breaches of the legislation have recently increased
Under most Commonwealth laws, financial penalties are expressed in terms of ‘penalty units’ instead of dollar figures. As an example, a maximum fine would generally be expressed as ’10 penalty units’ as opposed to ‘$1000’. The Australian Government recently increased the value of penalty units that apply to breaches of most Australian Government laws.
On 28 December 2012, the value of a penalty unit for calculating financial penalties increased from $110 to $170. The penalty unit value had not been adjusted since 1997. The civil penalties that apply for contraventions of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 are calculated using penalty units. This means that all financial penalties calculated using penalty units under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 will be higher for breaches of the legislation that occur on or after 28 December 2012.
The ACMA is currently in the process of updating its website and other information and fact sheets about the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 to reflect the new higher penalty unit value.
About the Do Not Call Register Act 2006
Under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (the Act) telemarketers and fax marketers must not contact numbers registered on the Do Not Call Register. This is subject to limited exemptions.
To assist telemarketers and fax marketers to minimise the possibility of breaching the Act, the Act makes provision for businesses planning to make telemarketing calls or send marketing faxes to access the register to check or "wash" their contact lists against the numbers listed on the register. Subscription fees generally apply.
To wash lists, telemarketers and fax marketers are able to open an account, select an annual subscription type and submit calling lists to the register operator for checking against the register. Detailed information about subscriptions and the washing service are available on the Do Not Call Register website.
For any further queries about the washing service, please call the industry hotline on 1300 785 749.
Once contact lists have been washed, businesses will be able to identify which numbers are on the register and must not be called or faxed, and which numbers are not on the register and may be called or faxed.
The prohibition on making unsolicited calls or faxes to a number on the Do Not Call Register does not apply if:
- the telemarketer or fax marketer had washed their list in the last 30 days and the number was not on the register
- the relevant phone or fax account holder or their nominee consented to the call or fax
- the call or fax was made or sent, or caused to be made or sent by mistake or
- the person took reasonable precautions, and exercised due diligence, to avoid the contravention.
There are some limited exemptions which allow some organisations operating in the public interest to contact numbers listed on the register. Government bodies, educational or religious organisations, registered political parties, independent members of parliament, electoral candidates and charities are all entitled to these exemptions.
The legislation provides a range of enforcement options to the ACMA to deal with minor to very serious breaches. Penalty options include issuing formal warnings and infringement notices, seeking enforceable undertakings and taking civil court action.
The ACMA’s general approach to compliance is to negotiate and resolve the matter, without resorting to formal procedures. However, if informal resolution is unsuccessful or inappropriate the ACMA will take appropriate enforcement action.
Detailed advice about measures that telemarketers and fax marketers can take to comply with key requirements of the legislation is available in the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 Compliance Guide.
Access to the register
Information about the washing service, subscription types and access fees is available on the Do Not Call Register website.
More information about the Do Not Call Register is available from:
- Industry assistance line: 1300 785 749
- Post: PO Box 42, North Melbourne Vic 3051
Information about industry cost recovery arrangements is available in the Cost Recovery Impact Statement for the Do Not Call Register.
Legislation, including relevant Acts and amendments, determinations, and regulations are available on the Do Not Call Register legislation page.
Media releases and announcements
The ACMA has produced a number of information sheets to help industry understand specific parts of the Do Not Call legislation.
- Overview of the Do Not Call Register legislation
- Overview of the Do Not Call Register arrangements as they apply to the real estate industry
- Overview of the types of calls that are considered telemarketing calls
- Overview of the types of calls that are considered marketing faxes
- Overview of whether a telephone number is used primarily for private or domestic purposes
- Overview of the consent provisions that apply under the Do Not Call Register Act
- Overview of the enforcement action and penalty arrangements
Media releases about the Do Not Call Register and telemarketing industry standard are available as follows:
- Do Not Call registrations: now eight years (16 Apr)
- Telemarketer learns the cost of Do Not Call breaches (4 Jan)
- Finance provider pays for calling numbers on the Do Not Call Register (1 Nov)
- Do Not Call Register tops eight million numbers! (16 Oct)
- Global action busts scammers posing as Microsoft (4 Oct)
- Sydney Leisure Guide commits to Do Not Call compliance (2 Oct)
- ACMA cautions Duct Masters for Do Not Call breaches (5 Jun)
- 5th birthday and 7.5 million numbers and counting—Do Not Call Register reaches new milestone (31 May)
- Vacations4you to lift its telemarketing game (22 Mar)
- Vodafone Hutchison commits to improved Do Not Call compliance (10 Jan)
- Seven million numbers and counting — Do Not Call Register reaches new milestone (3 Nov)
- Telko pays price for calling numbers on the Do Not Call Register (27 Sept)
- Optus to improve Do Not Call compliance (25 Aug)
- ACMA obtains first Do Not Call Register court penalty against telemarketer (16 Jun)
- New standard provides greater protection against unsolicited marketing faxes (5 May)
- The ACMA targets computer virus telemarketers (24 Mar)
- ACMA reviews Telemarketing Industry Standard (7 Dec)
- ACMA to develop standard for fax marketing (18 Oct)
- Consumer alert: Telemarketers scamming Australians about the Do Not Call Register (1 Sept)
- ACMA to develop standard for fax marketing (28 Jun)
- Do Not Call Register boosted to cover faxes (13 Jun)
- Do Not Call re-registrations top 40 per cent (21 Apr)
- Bruce Harry Real Estate pays the price for illegal telemarketing (20 Apr)
- Re-register your mobile phone numbers now (29 Mar)
- Do Not Call: NSW needs to re-register home phone numbers now (22 Mar)
- Re-register now to avoid telemarketing calls (9 Mar)
- Telco in court for alleged Do Not Call breaches (1 Mar)
- ACMA warns insulation installers – do not call numbers on the Do Not Call Register (19 Feb)
- Do Not Call Register hits 4 million mark (29 Jan)
2009 - 2006
- 24x7 Direct first call centre penalised for ringing numbers on the Do Not Call Register (15 Dec 2009)
- The ACMA urges Australians to report spam and unwanted telemarketing phone calls (13 Oct 2009)
- Telstra pays $101,200 infringement notice for telemarketing to "Do Not Call" numbers (18 Aug 2009)
- Neighbourhood Energy penalised for calls made to numbers on the Do Not Call Register (6 Aug 2009)
- Complaints about unwanted telemarketing calls plummet (6 July 2009)
- ACMA invites comment on new industry fees and payment methods to access the Do Not Call Register in 2009-10 (24 Mar 2009)
- Westpac warned for calling numbers listed on the Do Not Call Register (16 Mar 2009)
- Telecommunications companies responsible for more than half of Do Not Call Register complaints (15 Jan 2009)
- Dodo pays penalty for calling numbers on the Do Not Call Register (22 Oct 2008)
- New fees for telemarketers to access Do Not Call Register (25 June 2008)
- Australians list 2.3 million telephone numbers on the Do Not Call Register (30 May 2008)
- ACMA invitesmment on new industry fee regimes to access Do Not Call Register (19 May 2008)
- ACMA launches first Do Not Call Register investigation (22 Aug 2007)
- ACMA removes prohibition on Sunday research calls (30 May 2007)
- Do Not Call Register website opens for industry ‘washing’ (25 May 2007)
- Do Not Call registrations reach 200,000 (4 May 2007)
- Massive public response to national Do Not Call Register (3 May 2007)
- Do Not Call Register launched (3 May 2007)
- ACMA invites comment on Sunday calling times for research calls (20 April 2007)
- ACMA calls for comment on Do Not Call Register access fee options (26 Mar 2007)
- ACMA makes industry standard for telemarketing and research calls (26 Mar 2007)
- ACMA awards contract for Do Not Call Register (1 Feb 2007)
- ACMA releases draft telemarketing and research calls standard (21 Dec 2006)
- ACMA warns about people claiming to sell access to Do Not Call Register (30 Nov 2006)
- ACMA releases tender for Do Not Call Register (5 Oct 2006)
- Do Not Call Register - ACMA seeks comments on request for tender (1 Sep 2006)
- ACMA moves to curb unsolicited telemarketing calls (11 Aug 2006)
- Do Not Call legislation introduced (25 May 2006 - DCITA media release)